Another year is drawing to a close soon, but you still have time to prepare for the coming year. If you haven’t reviewed your insurance coverage in a while, this is a good time to do so. Too many Rhode Island homeowners buy insurance and automatically renew each year without knowing whether they’re properly covered.
Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to call your insurance agent so you start the New Year with peace of mind and avoid gaps in your coverage.
The Value of Your Home Increased
Most homes increase in value over time. Even if you only bought your home a few years ago, the new value of your home could be substantially more. The cost of labor and materials are on the rise so the cost of rebuilding your home after a disaster is also on the rise. If you haven’t reviewed your home insurance coverage in a while, your coverage could be too low. Without sufficient coverage, you’ll pick up the tab in the event of a major loss.
The value of your home can also increase if you renovate. When you add additional square footage or redo a kitchen or bath, your home is worth more. If you finish your home’s basement, you probably need protection from water damage. If you’re depending on your existing policy, it won’t take the increased worth or risk into account, which creates a coverage gap.
You Own More
Most people don’t realize how much “stuff” they accumulate over the years. You probably own much more than you did when you first bought your home and it adds up quickly.
Preparing a detailed inventory of what you own can be a real eye-opener. Your electronics, tools, clothing, and household goods alone can total tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t forget about outdoor items such as your new gas grill or lawnmower.
If you own jewelry, antiques, extensive computer equipment, musical gear, or art you definitely need to do an insurance review. The coverage limits within a standard policy are usually low for these types of items so you may need an extension on your policy. Endorsements allow you to add coverage for a scheduled list of items with specific appraised values to ensure these high valued treasures are covered properly.
You Operate a Business from Home
Many homeowners assume their homeowner’s insurance policy covers their home office against loss, because it’s in their home. However, many policies restrict the limit for loss to business property or do not cover it all.
Talk to your agent to ensure that you have sufficient coverage. They may suggest a rider on your existing policy or a separate policy, particularly if you use expensive equipment or carry stock or have clients regularly coming to your home.
You Increased Your Risk
You may have a gap in your coverage if you installed a new pool, hot tub, or trampoline. They increase your liability risk and your homeowner’s policy may not adequately cover you if someone has an accident. You could be held liable for ongoing medical expenses and legal fees. If the court issues a judgment against you, your existing assets and future earnings would be at risk. It’s important to review your liability limits on a regular basis and increase them as needed or purchase umbrella coverage for added protection.
You’re Missing Out on Discounts
Have you installed a security system or smoke alarms since you bought your home? Did you quit smoking? Have you upgraded the electrical or plumbing in your house? Did you replace your home’s roof? Are you over 55-years of age? Are you a “claims-free” homeowner?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may be paying more than you should. These are just a few of the discounts available to homeowners. A thorough insurance review could reveal discounts to lower your premiums.
These are just some of the reasons you should consider a review of your insurance coverage. Annual reviews ensure you maintain adequate coverage whenever your life changes, you add assets, or you make changes to your home.
Make an appointment with your agent and prepare an inventory of your belongings. Discuss your needs, ask questions, and seek discounts. Many insurers offer discounts if you’re a loyal customer and if you bundle your automobile insurance with your homeowner’s policy.